Monday, April 2

Striving


I have started this blog post 3 times so far. I’m sitting here on the struggle bus, surrounded by tons of baggage that I thought I had left by the side of the road ages ago! I don’t know, it’s really weird, right? You work through your issues, you feel like you’re at peace with things, and suddenly, overnight, you can end up feeling like you’ve taken 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Do you have times where you ride the struggle bus? Guess what, me too. I think we often see others in a different light than we see ourselves.
Often we are so wound up in our own journey that we don’t even realize that the people who inspire us struggle as well. Everyone has issues they are working through. Everyone. No matter who they are or what they do. I guarantee you that this is true.
This year, 2018, I set my word of intention as STRIVE.

I thought this was a great word. Last year, I worked on me all year. I fought hard to get my fitness and health journey under control. I worked my tail off. I lost 43 pounds and kept going. I figured it out, I worked out for 276 days of 365. That’s pretty impressive when you consider the fact that I literally did not start doing any physical activity until March 23rd. So, yea, I figured strive was a great word for this year, this second year of my journey to better health.
Here’s how it’s going. We are now starting the fourth month of 2018. I haven’t lost a single pound. Am I disappointed? No. I’m not. I’m not because I know that this year, I have done a crazy difficult exercise program and have owned it, my way. I think just about everyone knows that I’m a Beachbody Coach, at this point. In January of this year, I started a program called 80 Day Obsession. Part of me wants to tell you that I had no business even considering this program, because it’s an advanced program. But you know what? A really BIG part of me wants to tell you that I went at this program with my eyes open and I have done 68 days of this crazy program. SIXTY EIGHT days of it are done. I’ll be honest, I’ve missed probably 6 workouts, but that’s okay. You know what? No one is perfect. No one. Everyone has a life. Life happens.
 When I first started the program, I was totally wound up and convinced that if I didn’t do every single move in every single workout, I was a failure. Seriously. Here I was, doing the most difficult program I’ve ever done and I was telling myself I was a failure. I felt like I was a failure because I had to modify, I had to pause the videos, I had to take a day off because my knees were so sore I couldn’t hardly stand, let alone workout. As the days went on, the super trainer who teaches the program actually came on and admitted that there were some editing issues that shortened the breaks between moves. On that day, something inside me changed. I realized that this was MY program and that I need to own it and do it MY way. I also connected with a group of people on Facebook who were also doing the program and needed modifications.
A lot of people think modifications are an indicator of weakness, but you know what? I think modifications are an indicator of strength. It takes strength and determination to look at what the person on a video is doing, acknowledge that you can’t do it, and find an alternative. It takes strength to be willing to take a chance on yourself and do a program that is probably beyond you. It takes strength to keep going, keep doing it, when you aren’t seeing any change on the scale. It really does.
This program has 3 phases. Each phase, the moves get progressively more complicated and more difficult to do. I remember at the end of Phase 1, I was talking to a friend and asked if I should just stay in Phase 1 because I was still modifying. She said no. Looking back, I think I should have trusted myself. I think that if you modify, doing Phase 1 at least 2 times, all the way through, probably makes sense. I also think that if you are looking to lose weight, rather than looking to tone, after losing all of your weight, this isn’t the program for you. Everyone’s mileage varies, but this program is about flat abs and building a booty. It’s not about weight loss. While I have had some wins, (I’m down 8.5 inches and 2% body fat), I’m up 3 pounds and that makes my “strive” goal of losing 43 pounds again this year a bit more challenging, but it’s okay. The “win” of having done this very difficult program is pretty big. I’ll take it and move forward.
As the phases went on, there were some workouts that I just could. Not. do. I replaced them with other workouts that I could do. I had a couple of times where I just didn’t have a solid hour to workout. I picked shorter workouts that I knew I could get done. Again, my journey, my rules. Most recently, I did a Shaun T workout. When I started Beachbody, I started on Shaun Week. Shaun Week was a series of 7 workouts, each progressively more difficult (at least that’s how I saw it!). If you don’t know who Shaun T is, let me tell you in just a few quick, sobering words. He created the Insanity workouts. Enough said? Yep, I figured. So doing Shaun Week was no cakewalk. I literally marched through a lot of it. And I lost weight and inches. As I started to say, last week I did a Shaun Week workout. I did it probably 80% unmodified! It was crazy! I took out the jumps but that was about it. Seriously.
So now, my thoughts are that I will continue my journey, owning it, doing my best. Continuing to workout 5-6 days a week, and maybe next year, I’ll go back and do one of these workouts, after I lose more weight and am closer to my goal and maybe I won’t have to modify much of it either!
It’s good to have goals. How about you? What are your goals? How can I help? Want me as your coach? Click here: COACH ME PLEASE

Saturday, February 17

Things I have learned about inflammation

With the difficulty factor of the workouts we are all doing, with the food choices we make, the lifestyle we lead, the lack of down time, we are all stretching the boundaries of what our bodies can handle. Little things can lead to big things if we don’t pay attention when our bodies throw up a white flag. It can be really hard to listen and change things up, but it can be really bad not to listen. (By the way, I am at Day 30 of 80 Day Obsession and still going strong!)

  1. Stay gluten (mostly wheat) and cow dairy free.
  1. Stretch. Stretch when I first wake up, stretch before I work out, and stretch after I finish. No shortcuts, and no rushing. 
  1. Get enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep, lik 7 or more hours, I’m not giving my body time to heal.
  1. Workout regularly. I workout 6 days a week. Five is my absolute minimum, 6 is my optimal.
  1. Buy good shoes, with stability. (stability and motion control is best, but stability is usually ok.)
  1. Replace my shoes often. Did you know that your sneakers wear out within just a few months?? They can look gorgeous on top and be totally worn out. Who knew?
  1. Listen to my body. If I buy a pair of shoes, and after a few wearings, notice pain, I’ll stop wearing them, then test to be sure it’s the shoes and not a bad day. I have learned and stick to a few brands that love my feet and that I love. (Born, Algeria, New Balance, and recently, I’ve have good luck with Nike Air Pegasus 34).
  1. Modify. Short of muscle stretching, exercise should not hurt. If it does, you are either not doing something right, wearing the wrong shoes, or pushing harder than your body can handle. There are no medals awarded for whoever does the most macho exercise. Nobody is keeping track or taking notes on your workout. Except you. Modify that move and own it. If you are doing yoga, for instance, down dog, and haven’t been doing yoga for years and years and years, you should NOT be trying to work to get your heels flat. It takes YEARS for the instructor to be able to do that! If you are doing lunges and your knees are providing background sounds, love them by taking your lunge a little slower and not as deep. Trust me, you will still get the benefit. Do an alternative move if you have to, but don’t just keep going. Everything has a price. The down time to an injury brought on by overuse or pushing too hard can kill your momentum completely and sideline you from not just your workouts, but other parts of your life. It’s not worth it.
  1. This one will sound crazy, but for whatever reason, it seems to help. Eat 2 Brazil nuts a day. Brazil nuts are apparently awesome for inflammation who knew? I also have researched and found that the group of vegetables and fruits called “nightshades” cause inflammation. Tomatoes, eggplant, white potatoes (not sweet potatoes), just to make a few. 
  1. Ice is your friend. The last thing Dallas told me at the retreat was ice your knees after every single workout. I am horrible at icing. He knows that. He also knows how beneficial it is. Dallas is a wrestling Hall of Famer with 3 World titles. He knows pain. He was over 35 when he got his titles, and one of his favorite stories is the other guys making fun of him for taking ice baths. Many of those guys are now doing DDPYOGA with Dallas to heal their bodies. Hmmmmm.


I have been athletic for my entire life. At 2 I was dancing tap, ballet, and jazz. At 9 I started figure skating. At 12, I gave up dance and started swimming competitively. In high school, I swam, did track, p,ayes badminton, volleyball, and I can’t even remember what else. In my 20s, I took up cycling and dabbled in that. I also water skied, snow skied, and figure skated. Oh and jazzercise. Years of jazzercise. In my 30s, motherhood, and my first instance of inflammation, bursitis in my hip from carrying a too heavy little boy too much. Healed that up, more jazzercise, more gym work, in-line skating, ice skating, swimming, etc. you get the idea. I’m no newbie when it comes to moving your body! 

For a second, I wanted to say I’m no newbie to injuries too, but you know, up until the bursitis, I never had a single injury, other than blisters from ballet dancing on point! I was a dynamo. Unstoppable. I am built pretty sturdily, and have always been able to just heal up that blister and move on. 

All that changed after a few years of sedentary life, desk work, and a lack of understanding and believing in invincibility (and a pair of boots with too high heels....) in my mid 40s, I started having this pain under my heel. It was like it was numb, except when it wasn’t numb and hurt to put any pressure on. It was mostly in the morning, but it could last all day! I thought I just needed better shoes. I tried that, it didn’t work. I went to a podiatrist, one of the best, and got fitted for orthotics. That helped a little, but still not enough to get me moving like I always had. By my early 50s, I was reduced to sitting on an exercise bike and believing it was all I could do. 

Then one day, I learned about DDPYOGA. I started doing it, and the heel pain diminished. Not all the way, but it was better. I realized that the stretching movements of yoga were helping, so I stretched more. The pain changed at this point. It moved to the back of my ankle. This scared me. I went in and they told me I had Achilles tendinitis. I worked with a physical therapist for months on it, using bands and tubes and doing all kinds of things, none of which really worked. X-rays showed it was “just inflamed”. Nothing ripped, so deal with the inflammation with pills. 

If you know me at all, you know I’m not a fan of pills. I believe pills are typically a bandaid and can lead to more problems, because we take them, they mask the pain, and we go be to invincible mode! I had a lot of conversations with my chiropractor, the amazing Dr. Grace Basista, and we worked and worked on that heel. She eventually used a cold laser on it, from my arch to the top edge of my heel, and the pain was just about gone. 

In 2015, about 3 months after the laser treatment, I went to the DDPYOGA retreat in Cancun, Mexico. I was determined and excited, having had this planned for 2 years! When I checked in, I realized that my room, though beautiful, was at the far end of the resort, at the very bottom of the hill the place is built on. Inside I was freaking out, but I decided it was what it was and I would call for a golf cart as often as I needed to. I was there for fun! On the second day, I decided to walk up the hill. Halfway there, I got incredible cramps in my left calf, the one with the Achilles issue. I got to the top, and my young, wonderful marathon runner friend TQ, was already there. I told him about the cramp and asked if he had a favorite stretch. He got me stretching against a tree, and the pain subsided. It never came back, and my heel no longer hurt. At the exact same time, I need to interject something. Dallas Page, the founder of DDPYOGA, strongly suggests going gluten free and dairy free. It’s a cornerstone of his program. At the resort, we were able to order gluten and dairy free easily, so I ate that way from day 1. By day 4 of the trip, I was losing weight and my heel/foot/ankle were like new. It was incredible.

I came home and did well, staying as gluten free and dairy free as I could easily stay, but not religiously, like I had in Cancun. I came to realize that without gluten and dairy the pain was gone. It was back with them. I did research and studied, and found out there was a connection. A huge connection between what we eat and inflammation. Inflammation. Achilles tendinitis and bursitis are both inflammatory reactions. 

Inflammation is no joke. It isn’t something to ignore and take lightly. I have been dealing with it for about 8 years now, and have finally, mostly beat it into submission, but it has been a long road and very hard work. My diet has played a huge part, probably the biggest part of healing, but there’s more. This is my list of “musts”:

I know this probably sounds preachy. I know that many of the people in my exercise circle are younger, more fit, and thinking this doesn’t apply to them, but please, please, please don’t discount this information. Inflammation is real, and it is no joke. Listen to your body and gift it by handling inflammation when it happens and healing it. If you have inflammation, take a few days off, ice like a crazy person, fix your diet, and you will be rewarded. Even if you have bad knees or shoulders, or whatever, doing these things can often provide relief so you can go on.


Make it a fabulous day! I’m off to walk my first 5k since the Achilles tendinitis in 2015!